Fishes can be sold to the middle women and men that will re-sell; it can also be sold to restaurants and pepper soup joints. Arrangements can be made with big eateries where continental dishes are served. Importation is also a possibility depending on the capacity of your fish farm.
In a nutshell, fish is consumed by the vast majority and you are sure of having your fish disposed anytime they are ready for sell. It is also advisable that some fish farmers associations within your localities for possible linking with available market.
Different Ways to Sell Fish
The fish farmer can market his stock via word of mouth and advertisement. The farmer can use the various advertisement platforms like television, radio, or news papers.
They can also use printed media like handbills, posters, billboards and leaflets. The major thing is for potential buyers to know the table fish is available for sale.
Processed or live catfish
The fish farmer can sell his fish either processed or live or both. The method depends on the market and farmers capacity. The fish farmer can process the smaller fish in his stock into smoked fish and sell to market women or individuals.
Another way is to make the fish into barbecue, steamed fish or boiled fish pepper soup. For this method you need to have an outlet such as a bar or restaurant. You can sell your live fish either in bulk or singly to individual buyers.
Ways to Sell your Fishes
(1) Bulk sales
The major way catfish farmers sell their stock is in bulk to market women. There are market women who specialize in catfish farming and buy the fish in bulk.
In turn they sell retail to individuals at high sums making large profit. The market women make huge profit more than the fish farmer who earns based on size and quantity sold.
To make appreciable earnings the fish farmer should sell his stock at current market price per kilogram. The price per kilogram in 2015 in Lagos Nigeria is 500 Naira so knowig the current price gives you an edge over the hard bargaining fish sellers.
(2) Sell retail
Selling retail will guarantee huge earnings because you are in full control of your sales. You can sell to individuals either by size or weight depending on your preference.
It might take time selling retail but you end up smiling all the way to the bank. If you decide on this method you can find your customers in various ways.
Use handbills and posters including banners to let your neighbors know you have fish for sale. Word of mouth is also very important, local paper publications and small bill boards.
Read Also: 25 Uses of Fish and Fish Products (Updated)
(3) Employ a fish seller
Employing a fish seller is a smart way to offer your sales to potential customers. You get top price for your fish and make good earnings. The drawback to this method is capital loss form deceitful vendors who might cheat their employers.
(4) Open an outlet
If you are not averse to selling your own stock in the open market then you’ll make massive profit. Selling your stock yourself takes care of all aspects from production to sales.
Restaurants and bars sell catfish to their customers as pepper soup or barbecued. They source the fish from fish farmers and middlemen and are able to pay reasonably for the fish.
A fish farmer can build relationship with such outlets to supply them the fish. The farmer can own a barbecue or pepper soup outlet in such establishments.
Some restaurants and bars allow food vendors pay monthly sums for a space in their establishment.. The catfish farmer can leverage on this ready market to sell his fish.
4.1 Reasons why you should open a business outlet
If you have the finance to open a business outlet that services your produce then you will make huge profit. A business outlet guarantees maximum gain for your produce.
Other reasons are nearness to the market and price determination of your stock. Having an outlet helps you sell your stock faster and cuts out the middleman.
An additional advantage of opening an outlet is the development of a brand new business venture.
Types of outlets you can open
Starting a restaurant is a good idea because you can fashion different delicacies using catfish as the center piece. Restaurants are big business and it affords you a new venue and profitable outlet for your produce.
(a) Open a bar
Bars are very popular in Nigeria and they service a host of native delicacies including steamed catfish, smoked catfish and catfish pepper soup.
Many bar push their catfish menu to customers because of the huge gain they make selling the fish. For example if 1kg of the fish was bought at N500 naira they can sell the same fish for N2000 naira.
(b) Open a fast food joint
Fast food is in vogue and attracts both young and old patrons. You need to leverage on this market to make huge gains selling your processed fish.
Barbecues are in high demand especially fresh fish and catfish barbecue. You can make huge profit opening a barbecue business while selling your fish for profit.
(c) Open a sales outlet
Sales outlets that sell live catfish make double what the fish farmer makes after growing his fish for six months. The best way to sell your fish with minimum costs is to open a market sales outlet.
The fish farmer can go further by grilling or smoking the fish for sale. Any of the above format works and you only need to find the one you are most comfortable doing.
(d) Rent a space
There are a few places where organic fruits and vegetables are sold by local farmers. A fish farmer can rent space at such places to sell his produce directly to customer.
The drawback is that such gathering hardly last two weeks, so use the trading opportunity wisely.
(5) Sell Abroad
You can process you catfish, package and sell the fish via export it to buyers. Before you export your fish you need to have a buyer, and package them according to strict export requirement.
You need to prevent contaminants getting into your fish, get export license and follow government regulations. Exportation is tough but highly rewarding if you succeed.
(6) Fish farmers that only produce fingerlings
Breeders of catfish have a different market than growers. The breeders only have one market which is selling to small and large scale fish farmers.
They get customers by word of mouth, advertisement in newspapers and posters. They can also deposit handbills to catfish feed sellers for farmers who buy their feed concentrate.
Table 21. Types of retail fish sellers in the rural markets
Fish seller category
Av. sellers per market
Percent of all sellers
Dry fish seller
Preserved fish seller
Live fish seller
Fresh fish seller
– Small fish
– Large fish
Source: M-AEP survey conducted by the present author, 1995.
Fifty-five percent of fish sellers deal in fresh fish in rural primary markets, 17% sell live fish, and sellers of dry fish constitute 7%. Some vendors of small, fresh fish may be the fishermen themselves, who sell directly to the consumers or to the Beparies.
If they are, they sit in open places near the fish market and pay exorbitant tolls to extortionists. Thus they face high transaction costs for selling their fish in the market.
Competition is higher in retail markets than in any other kind of market, e.g. secondary or higher secondary markets. Prices of fish are determined by the direct interplay of demand for and supply of fish in retail markets.
Markets at all levels have retailing arrangements, that is, a group of retailers that sell fish to consumers. In general, conditions in urban and rural retail markets are not satisfactory regarding stalls, parking, spacing, sanitation, drainage and management.
Bargaining, in terms of eye estimation, is still the common practice for pricing fish. Strict grading, sorting and price tagging are ignored in retailing. Quality of the products and a standard for weighing are not enforced at all. In such a situation, cheating and exploitation are unavoidable.
Fair pricing according to grade, size, origin and freshness of the fish may not be possible in the absence of standard norms of marketing practices and a lack of enforcement by legal authorities. Thus, market access is limited for the economically weaker section of the consumers.
Farmer’s share to consumer’s price:
On average, fishermen and fish farmers get 56% of the price paid by consumers, that is, 44% of the consumer price goes to intermediaries. Beparies and retailers earn 11% and 17% profit respectively, which may not be considered a high return on capital invested.
Fish is a perishable commodity, and transportation is more hazardous for fish than for crop products. Judging from the modest profits of intermediaries and their reasonable marketing margins, fish markets appear to be competitive and efficient. Marketing margins in imperfect markets are likely to be higher because of abnormal profits than they are in competitive markets.
Fish Farmers’ Access to Credit
Farmers trade agricultural products and commodities in an atomistic, competitive market, where the margin of profit is usually minimal, barely covering the cost of labour.
Farmers of agricultural commodities face a high degree of uncertainty in terms of prices and fluctuating production-yields. Low capital and low productivity is the norm for agricultural production in developing countries.
Therefore, credit extended to producers can play a vital role in sustaining and increasing levels of productions by small-scale entrepreneurs. The credit situation encountered by farmers of fish ponds is depicted in Table 24.
Table 24. Institutional and non-institutional credit received by respondents according to different sizes of farms
Non institutional credit
SOURCE: Field Survey, 1999.
NOTE: Figures in parenthesis show percentage share.
Only 16% of fish farmers had access to institutional credit (banks/NGOs). Altogether, 31% of fishpond farmers obtained loans from institutional and non-institutional sources (friends/relatives/money lenders) in 1998-99.
Many farmers operating fish ponds do not have access to institutional financing, although they are engaged in an apparently profitable agricultural activity. Small-scale farmers of fish ponds, on average, received Tk 6 461 (11% of variable costs; Table 16) in credit.
Medium and large-scale fish farmers, who were able to obtain credit, covered all their variable production costs of culturing fish. However, fish farmers’ access to credit is still limited.
Table 25. Average credit received from institutional and non-institutional sources by respondents according to different sizes of farms
Institutional credit received
SOURCE: Field Survey, 1999.